Print map - Child Mortality, 2015

Child Mortality, 2015

Child Moratality, 2015


Child Mortality evolution, 1990-2015


  • Child mortality refers to the amount of dead children aged 0 to 4 years compared to total population of the same age.
  • Strikingly, differences between Eastern and Western in Europe are still relevant enough.
  • Child mortality is higher in Central and Eastern European countries, especially in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Turkey, but also in parts of Slovakia, Poland, the Baltic Republics, Greece, where can reach a maximum value of 0,44%.
  • In contrast, regions in Western and Northern Europe present a lower share of child mortality, where can vary from 0% to 0,1%. Still, there are regions in Western Europe deviating from the low overall mean values.


Observations for policy

There exist relevant differences between Eastern and Western countries regarding child mortality, with Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey standing out as the countries with the highest child mortality rate in Europe but also regions of Slovakia, Poland and the Baltic Republics.

Regions with the lowest child mortality are in the Italic Northern part, in North-Western Spain, in Oriental Germany, as well as Iceland, along the Nordic countries as Finland and Norway. It is significantly important to emphasize countries such as Finland, Iceland, and Norway as well regions in the North of Spain, Italy along the Eastern Germany area, where the target is completely or nearly fulfilled as there are only 0,001% child mortality at most.

Worth mentioning as well, some collectives like Roma have child mortality rates in Europe that are 2-6 times higher than those for the general population, depending on the country. These outcomes reflect poorer living conditions, reduced access to quality healthcare and higher exposure to risks according to European Commission.

Policy context

In 2004, the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health adopted Regional Priority Goal II of the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), which includes four regional priority goals to reduce the burden of environment-related diseases in children. One of the goals (RPG II) aims to reduce mortality and morbidity from injuries, and to ensure the provision of safe conditions that also facilitate more physical activity among children. Further, in 2005, the WHO Regional Committee for Europe adopted resolution RC55/R9 on the prevention of injuries. In concert with this is the European Council Recommendation on the prevention of injuries and the promotion of safety. All these policy initiatives promote intersectoral evidence-based action. Their importance was again endorsed by the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in March 2010.

Despite of this, child mortality is not included as a central indicator of the EU2020 Strategy, this being claimed by some (Tausch & Heshmati 2013) as a misconception of the strategy as territorial unbalances in this indicator still reveal severe socioeconomic differences in life standards across Europe.

Map interpretation

In the most recent picture of child mortality, the Eastern countries still stand out as the highest share of child mortality in Europe, especially Turkey, which has been hit by poor living conditions.

In contrast, people living in Western and North Europe have the lowest rate of children deaths. It is significantly important to emphasize countries such as Finland, Iceland, and Norway as well regions in the North of Spain, Italy along the Eastern Germany area, where the target is completely or nearly fulfilled as there are only 0,001% child mortality at most.

Regarding the 1990 to 2015 evolution map, child mortality has decreased in most of countries because of improvements in living conditions and heath care. Also, the care for pregnant women has influenced in reducing the number of children deaths.

In contrast, child mortality rate has risen (if only slightly) in a few regions of Greece, Italy, Germany and the UK, along with Liechtenstein between 1990 and 2015.

Over the period 1990-2015, areas that improved most were those previously lagging behind, like Portugal, Spain, Southern Italy and Central and Eastern Europe, indicating a progressive convergence period.

Worryingly, the 2007-2015 economic crisis brought in some countries increases in the levels of child mortality, which had decreased almost everywhere in the previous decades, indicating severe poverty level increases in most crisis-hit Member States.

Concepts and methods

The map shows the child mortality as a share of total child population aged 0-4 of every region at NUTS2 level in Europe. It is displayed in five classes, increasing from 0% gradually up to the maximum value, which is 0,44%.

Two estimation methods have been used in order to complete missing data. The first estimation is based on deriving data from higher NUTS level growth trends when data series are extrapolated or retropolated at lower NUTS levels. The second method is applied for NUTS units were no data is available at any NUTS level. Then national data is extrapolated or retropolated according to macro-regional growth trends (eg. data for Croatia is derived from overall Balkan growth trends). When no data is available for no NUTS levels and no years at all, “no data” is displayed.


For more information, check indicator meta-data factsheet.

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